Make a DIY lightbox at home

Use greaseproof paper and a window to create a natural light box for capturing stunning, translucent flower images Setting up and taking creative shots in the comfort of your own home is easy to do, and in this new photo project wegoing to show you how to make a lightbox using nothing more than a window and some greaseproof paper. Webe using the technique to photograph flowers, but it can be applied to all kinds of items found around the home —try photographing slices of fruit, such as oranges and kiwi fruit, or clear sweets. The possibilities are endless! DIY lightboxSet up the light box Tape a sheet of greaseproof paper to a window. You can either shoot the flowers on their stems, or cut them off as we have and tape them to the paper; if you do this make sure you use clear tape, and spread the petals over the paper so you can see through them. Switch to Av mode Set your camera to Aperture Priority mode so you can control the aperture. Set the aperture to f/8 to keep your images sharp from front to back, and set the ISO to 100 for detailed, noise-free shots. Brighten the exposure Your camera will underexpose shots in an attempt to render bright backlight as a midtone, so go to the Exposure Compensation setting and dial in +1 stop of exposure compensation. Check your shots, and increase this as high as +2, if necessary. Set the focus Set the focus to the centre AF point, and make sure the centre of the flower is precisely in focus. If youphotographing two or more flowers, set the focal point for the largest flower in the shot. Use a tripod To ensure that your images are perfectly sharp, I mount your camera on a tripod. Even pressing the button can cause slight camera shake, so for the best results use the self-timer or a remote release. You should start by composing your shot from a low angle, pointing upwards. Start shooting Now you can get shooting. Experiment by taking photos of one flower by itself or a bunch together. You can overlay different flowers on top of each other or just stick to one type as we have. Itentirely up to you which composition you prefer! Pull back the highlights Open the macro_start.dng Raw image in ACR in Photoshop Elements. If you re editing your own images youneed to use slightly different settings, but yoube making similar edits as we are here. Start by moving the Recovery slider right to 23 pull back some highlight detail. Clone out distractions Use the tool to clean up any marks and breaks on the petals, Alt-clicking to sample suitable ’areas. Next use the Quick Selection tool to select the stem of the flower, and clone it out with white background pixels. Clean up the background Press Ctrl+D to deselect the stem, then zoom into the image, reduce the brush size and carefully clone out any bits of the stem that remain. Next, tidy up the background by removing any tape marks and blemishes such as sensor spots. Boost the contrast Next add a Levels adjustment layer, and to boost the contrast set the Shadows slider to 63, the Midtones slider to 0.70 and the Highlights slider to 240. This leaves the darker central parts of the flowers looking too dark, so take the Brush tool, set the foreground colour to black, target the layer mask and mask out (paint) the adjustment in that area. DIY lightboxTweak the colours To enhance the paler tones of the petals add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set Hue to-14, Saturation to-18 and Lightness to +12. Again remove this adjustment from the more colourful central areas by painting with the Brush tool (set to black as before) on the layer mask. Touch up the colours To finish off select the ’layer. With the Brush tool selected, hold down Alt and click on one of the lighter purple tones in the flowers to make that colour the foreground colour. Reduce the Opacity of the Brush tool to 10%, and carefully brush over any discoloured area of the petals —particularly green-tinged areas —to improve their colour.

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